THE Scottish Government today unveiled the latest weapon in the fight against wildlife crime - a new smartphone app.
The new app will enable members of the public to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland for the first time via their iPhone.
The app is the brainchild of Andy Turner, a former wildlife crime education officer, who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman explained: “The app allows users to access basic guidelines on do’s and don’ts at a crime scene, and complete an on-screen form to record the suspected wildlife crime. Users can also attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location. The information is then sent to Police Scotland by email.”
He added: “Whilst it is initially only available for the iPhone, it is hoped that the application will eventually be rolled out to other mobile devices.”
Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and chairman of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, welcomed the new app.
He said: “This reporting app will be an extremely useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime, and I would like to thank all those involved in its development. Wildlife crime incidents can often go unreported. I hope that the app will be used to provide valuable information to wildlife crime officers, and help us continue to build a more accurate picture of the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland.”
Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Environment Secretary, said: “This is a tremendous use of modern technology widely carried by thousands of people.”
Sergeant Andy Mavin, Police Scotland’s Wildlife Crime Coordinator, also backed the use of the app. He said: “The Wildlife Crime App is an excellent idea that I am sure will improve both the accuracy and efficiency of reporting and improve the overall detection of wildlife crime. The ability to tag a GPS location to a report will assist officers in locating the incident – which by their nature are often very remote locations – while adding to evidential value.”
The App is available to download free via the iTunes store.